Considers the principal heroic monuments of northern Europe, including Beowulf, The Lay of Hildebrand, The Lay of the Nibelungs, The Saga of the Volsungs, and the Sigurd poetry of the Poetic edda, and their interpretations. In this course, we will examine a number of important literary and cultural questions in their specific medieval northern European contexts: What is epic poetry, and what features does epic poetry display across time and space in Germanic northern Europe? What is the relationship of epic poetry to tradition, orality, and writing, to populations, to proto-nationalism, to cultural institutions, to the Otherworld, and to the shaping of an heroic ideal? What was its function, purpose and value in society and to individuals? In short, was medieval epic poetry 'good to think'?